Greenbuild 2016

Nearly 20,000 people attended the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild 2016 convention in Los Angeles last week with more than 600 exhibiters from the green building industrial complex showcasing innovations and new products on the expo floor.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I blogged  from Greenbuild last week, including Top 10 Products from the Greenbuild Expo and Junk Science And Heat Island Effect Revealed at Greenbuild. But for those of you who were not in LA I thought a broader recap of the world’s largest event dedicated to sustainable building might be in order.

Among the highlights, that will positively impact the built environment and create business opportunities are:

The biggest announcement at the convention was the formation of a new USGBC technology organization, arc, led by Scot Horst, incoming chief executive office of arc and outgoing chief product officer of USGBC. Arc will be an online platform that will allow every building to participate and, in one place, immediately start measuring performance in any of a host of rating systems and standards, make improvements and benchmark against the industry.

Scot and soon to be CEO of USGBC, Mahesh Ramanujam, used the International Summit to introduce LEED for Cities, a new initiative “scaling the vision.” Mahesh promised more details by year end teasing, what had once only applied to a single structure can now be applied to a neighborhood, a city, a state, a country, a continent “and, in time, the world.”

GBCI and the U. S. Zero Waste Business Council announced they are joining forces to advance zero waste business practices. Businesses, organizations and communities that divert more than 90 percent of waste from landfills, incinerators and the environment are considered to be successful in achieving zero waste. USZWBC will be integrated into GBCI with GBCI assuming responsibility for the ongoing management and evolution of the Zero Waste Facility Certification and Zero Waste Business Associate programs created by USZWBC. The zero waste principles will be aligned with GBCI’s certifications and arc.

GBCI also announced it will begin working together with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop, deliver and promote the Investor Confidence Project as the premier global underwriting standard for energy efficiency projects. ICP will also join GBCI’s portfolio of credentials and certifications, and the organizations will work together to accelerate investment in energy efficiency.

Scot also said in more than one session that details would be released before year end describing major changes to the requirements for LEED for Buildings Operations and Maintenance allowing many more existing building to participate in LEED O+M.

Similarly and also significantly, those at the convention were told that dramatic changes were imminent to the LEED Homes Multifamily Lowrise and Multifamily Midrise rating systems to broaden the market share of LEED multifamily.

Despite the LEED centric nature of Greenbuild, there may have been more discussion of the WELL Building Standard than of LEED? WELL, administered by GBCI certifying the performance of building features that impact health and well being.

And while possibly a bit of inside baseball, but important to this law firm that gives legal opinions on green transactions, including on green bonds and other financing, updates were announced to the GRESB Green Bond Guidelines for the Real Estate Sector, which adds specific guidance for issuers and investors in green bonds.

With all of that exciting change it is clear that USGBC is fast moving beyond the post Fedrezzi era speeding into a bright green future in which LEED will thrive. For those of us who believe that green building can save the planet, Greenbuild 2016 reinforced that the future of green building is bright and most of that green building will be LEED.

Greenbuild may epitomize the opportunities for making a profit saving the planet. I recommend you join us in pursuing those business opportunities at Greenbuild next year in Boston.